Some queer and trans folks love the holiday season. Others, especially those from unaccepting families, spend these months in survival mode.
“The abuse many of us as queer humans have to endure during the holidays is beyond tragic, and with decades of experience, I’d come up with a few tricks that helped me get through it and it all had to do with having boundaries for myself and sticking to them,” Boudreaux tells Queerty. “Heck, one year I pretended to have diarrhea all night just so I could go to the bathroom and hang out by myself for a while.”
After moving to the West Coast, this fabric and pattern designer and his spouse started their own holiday routine, which is “low-key simple” but prioritizes being unplugged and present with one another. “If we wanna nap, we nap. If we wanna eat cake, we eat cake,” he says. “Whatever it is we want to do, we do.”
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This year, Boudreaux is looking forward to quality time with his 8-year-old daughter, who herself is getting crafty, with an eye toward paper crafts and scrapbooking. “I try very hard to support what she wants to do, but her venturing into the crafting world definitely has me feeling like I can bring something to the table,” Boudreaux tells us.
So, what’s the key to a heartwarming holiday season? “Unconditional love,” he says. “That’s it. Many of us don’t receive that from our ‘relatives,’ which hurts, but it’s forced me to refuse anything less than unconditional love from my chosen family and friends. And as long as that’s present, it really doesn’t matter what you do or where you go or even who’s there. Because unconditional love is, and there’s truly no better gift than that for the holidays.”
With no further ado, here are Boudreaux’s survival tips, along with choice quotes from his full post (which is yours for the reading on the Mister Domestic website).
1. You are allowed to decide if and how you want to celebrate
“If you choose not to celebrate any holidays, that’s OK, too. Maybe the time of year is traumatic for you, maybe you see it all as religious and you’re not religious, maybe you just don’t want to celebrate holidays at all. That’s totally up to you, and you have the right to not celebrate. … If you want to celebrate your own version of the holidays, go for it. You can celebrate winter, the solstice, Yule, sweaters, sweatpants, llamas, sloths, cookie season, soup season, snow, friendship, My Little Ponies. The possibilities are endless.”
2. Avoid toxic family and friends
“Family is who treats you with love and respect. If those who raised you commonly don’t respect you and love you, they aren’t your family. Your family are the people who love and respect you. … If your family is homophobic, or racist, or just downright mean, find a reason not to visit this year. Maybe they’ll get the hint. Maybe they’ll respect your boundaries. Whatever they do, it ain’t your problem.”
3. Make an effort to spend time with supportive people
“Lean in to your people, your community, the people that love and support you. Have a group hangout, a potluck, a present exchange, a secret Santa, something, anything that will help you all feel better.”
4. Treat yourself and others
“Consider buying or making a few presents for yourself, wrapping them, and putting them out for yourself. Get or make something for your friends, your neighbor, your dog or cat. … Put on one of your favorite movies. Binge a quality TV series. Read a favorite book. Go for a walk in your favorite place. Order takeout for yourself. Take yourself on a date. Treat yourself to good things, not just now, but regularly. Make yourself a priority.”
5. Get creative
“If you’re into it, sew a quilt, crochet a hat, knit a scarf, paint a picture, do a collage, heck, a coloring book. Put on some nice music and make something. Getting creative is a great way to relax, relieve stress, and let your mind have a well-deserved break.”
6. Write down some quality affirmations
- I am awesome and powerful.
- I am deserving of love and respect.
- I deserve to be treated with kindness.
- I am worthy of living a full life.
- I will continue to show up for myself.
- I am allowed to have my own feelings and thoughts.
- My identity is my own. No one else can tell me who I am.
7. Stay off social media (or limit it)
“For as much as social media might connect you the rest of the year, it can be isolating if you’re not going to ‘all the events’ and doing ‘all the things.’ Make something else your go-to this time of year, like an audiobook, or a podcast.”
8. Schedule a therapy
“By ‘a therapy,’ I mean anything from an official therapy appointment to a telehealth appointment with a counselor, or even a dedicated LGBTQIA+ or other support group. Ideally, this is a safe place you can talk openly about your feelings, thoughts, concerns, or anything you want.”
9. Prioritize yourself
“Learning to show up for yourself and care for yourself takes time and practice. Remember; you are worthy of good things. You are worthy of love and equality and acceptance. Show up for yourself and those who love you. You deserve joy and a full life.”